Rebuild By Design Competition after Hurricane Sandy

In a one-time competition, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) encouraged Sandy-affected communities to rebuild with climate change in mind through the Rebuild by Design competition.  Rebuild by Design was a unique design competition that was initiated in 2013 by the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and HUD.  Through the competition, architectural and design professionals were asked to develop innovative design solutions for resilient rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Ten interdisciplinary design teams (planning, design, engineering, etc.) were selected to develop innovative resilience approaches in coordination with state and local government officials and community-based organizations. Seven winning proposals were selected and $920 million in HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding was allocated to state and local grantees to implement resilience projects identified in the proposals.  

The six winning projects included the following:

  • The Big U project in Manhattan and the Lower East Side of New York City; $335 million was allocated to build natural flood defenses and recreational amenities along the East River Park.
  • The Living Breakwaters project on Staten Island, NY; $60 million was allocated to implement a living breakwater along the South Shore of Staten Island in Tottenville.
  • The Living with the Bay project in Nassau County in Long Island, NY; $125 million to implement living shorelines, a greenway, and lake and stream restoration along the Mill River.
  • The Resist, Store, and Discharge project in Hoboken, NJ; $230 million to implement flood reduction measures including green infrastructure, flood control structures, and wetlands restoration.
  • The New Meadowlands project in the Meadowlands region of New Jersey; $150 million to construct a flood-control berm and restore wetlands.
  • Hunts Point Lifelines in Bronx, NY; $20 million for a series of flood-protection and infrastructure strategies to protect the one-square-mile Hunts Point peninsula of the Bronx, the hub of a $5 billion annual food industry serving New York City.

Rebuild by Design was an initiative of HUD and Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and in collaboration with the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, Municipal Art Society of New York, Regional Plan Association, and Van Alen Institute.  Rebuild by Design also inspired HUD to take a similar approach nationally through the National Disaster Resilience Competition that was launched in 2014.

The Georgetown Climate Center analyzed the implementation challenges and successes of the Rebuild by Design competition after Hurricane Sandy in its report, Rebuilding with Resilience: Lessons from the Rebuild by Design Competition After Hurricane Sandy. This report includes case studies on each of the winning RBD projects.


Publication Date: 2013

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